When Wayne Heintze met a former gang member who was concerned about getting a job because of his tattoos, he got an idea. Heintze, chaplain for the Harris County Sheriff's Department in Houston, decided to become trained in how to remove tattoos; clearly not a typical skill sought by a man of the cloth.
Earlier this year the chaplain and his wife, Francine, bought a laser and opened a small clinic; and they’ve been stripping ink from skin ever since. Tattoo removal – along with drug and job counseling – is now part of the local jail program focused on reentry into society.
“Until they get rid of the tattoo," he says, “they’re not going to be able to get a good paying job.”
Heintze’s clinic offers a substantial discount to newly released offenders in exchange for community service. And while they’re not breaking a profit yet, it’s the act of positively impacting lives that fuels them.
“Everything in our lives works great,” he says. “For us not to try to help somebody else, that’s just wrong.”
Thinisha Wright, a former prostitute, says that it’s a positive step forward.
“I can’t erase all the years that I’ve done and I’ve done a lot of damage in my life,” she says. “But I can start by making a new statement about how I should be.”
The Associated Press reports on the story in the video below:
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